Contrarian -- 11/25/02

I guess I'm just a contrarian.

People seem to love to complain about Christmas displays and listening to Christmas music in stores.

I used to do that to. I can remember my college-age days, working in supermarkets and department stores, listening to endless repetitions of a twenty or thirty minute loop of the same music over and over again, week after week. In fact, my daughter, a college student who works third shift stocking shelves in a supermarket, said today that she was going to bring her CD player and headphones to work so she wouldn't have to listen to eight hours of seasonal music at work.

But I realized something a few days ago.

I'm enjoying listening to the music as I shop.

I find myself singing along -- under my breath, of course, not out loud (I do not possess any musical talent) -- dreaming of a white Christmas with every box of Raisin Nut Bran breakfast cereal and package of Whiskas Tender Bites cat food I place in my shopping cart.

And Thanksgiving comes late this year -- Christmas is only four weeks away!

Of course I am coming into this holiday season in a state of utter exhaustion. I really had been working much too hard, putting myself under too much stress, extra hours every week, pressure, pressure... this past Thursday I had put in one of those days where I worked hard all day, working even as I ate lunch, dashing out of the office at six o'clock, stopping home for a few minutes, long enough to gulp down a cup of coffee, and then dash off to Nancy's school where they were celebrating "Family History Night" -- last year the social studies teacher on her team had his students put together displays on their family history and present them at night on tables set up in the school cafeteria; this year both 8th grade teams participated and they set up their displays in all of the 8th grade classrooms along the 8th grade hallway -- so I joined Nancy in wandering about, looking at the displays, listening to students explain the various items in their display -- one table had three displays that were almost a microcosm of Rhode Island ethnicity -- French Canadian, Italian, Portuguese -- then at seven-thirty the first shift of students packed up and the second shift set up their displays (not enough room for them all to be set up at once) and I took off for home. I ate a quick dish of soup and set up my laptop on the dining room table -- and worked there until two-thirty in the morning. I then went to bed, but was almost too wired to fall asleep right away -- and was up at 5:30 a.m. to start the day. Friday was another intense push but I finished shortly after five in the afternoon -- printed off the master document to be sent to the printers to generate the student books for this new course I will be teaching in a couple of weeks. (It's a beta version of the course, so I will be spending the week after I teach it fixing errors, rewriting rough spots, etc. based on the experience of teaching it and on feedback from the students.)

I feel as if I am decompressing... I've just plain been exhausted.

Saturday night I rented Legally Blonde and Nancy and I just vegged out, watching the movie. Sunday was more vegging out -- read the Sunday paper -- watch most of the first Harry Potter movie on HBO (Nancy and I had seen it in the theatre and plan to see the new one) -- my daughter and I went out for a three mile run -- and, of course, watched The Sopranos in the evening. It wasn't all just goofing off... I made a nice beef stew and some lasagna -- a large pan of spinach lasagna and a smaller pan of plain lasagna (I ran out of spinach). The stew was Sunday's dinner -- Jennifer was out with friends but attacked the lasagna (being a semi-vegetarian) when they returned later that night. Tonight is lasagna and salad. I guess I'd better go make the salad soon and post this to the Internet after dinner.

I'm off from work all this week -- Thursday and Friday are company holidays and I'm using vacation time for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. (Okay, so I did work a little bit on Sunday and a little bit today, but only an hour or so each time, so that barely counts.)

The weather forecast says there's a chance of snow on Wednesday, so we might have a white Thanksgiving.

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